With grid power supplies sometimes unreliable, and the impact of power outages for all kinds of industries being potentially catastrophic, having a reliable chain of power supply (your UPS and Generators) is very important. For sectors such as defence, healthcare, the police services, fire and rescue and telecoms, a loss of power doesn’t just mean a momentary inconvenience – the impact can be enormous. Fortunately, with continued care and consideration, your UPS (uninterruptible power supply) and backup generator can work symbiotically to make sure that you’re never left in a blackout.
Your UPS (uninterruptible power supply or uninterruptible power source) is a piece of electric apparatus that acts as a backup if the mains power supply or primary power source is compromised. UPS power supply services are vital for all kinds of sectors, as they provide a safety measure if the main power supply gets interrupted. A UPS is ideal as it will automatically detect any loss of power and automatically work to fill the gap. This results in minor to zero downtime from power systems, meaning no loss of functionality, even for very short periods. This makes them more efficient and effective when it comes to supporting vital infrastructure. UPS power supply are also silent, unlike some generators, and tend to require less maintenance.
However, UPSs are not designed to power systems indefinitely. They can give you the time you need to safely shut down certain equipment and databases, but won’t last for too long if they have to power large infrastructure for extended periods of time, as they run off their own batteries. That’s when you might want to incorporate a generator into your power supply infrastructure.
A backup generator unit is generally self-powered, and able to generate its own energy. Generators can help to power your UPS service for longer periods of time, including longer blackouts and periods where power cannot be restored quickly or easily. Generators are better at running heavy appliances for longer periods of time, and are much easier to install. UPS power supplies however, often need professional and specialist installation and regular UPS battery maintenance.
There is much debate over whether UPSs or generators are a better power solution, but they can be combined to give you the best of both worlds when it comes to your power systems. Having both a UPS and a generator as part of your power infrastructure can help to prevent any issues and give you a seamless and highly-effective power solution that results in safety and security for you and your business or organisation.
It’s certainly worth investing in a UPS power supply and generator power system, but there are also several important considerations to take into account when setting up and maintaining your new infrastructure. One of the most important, and most overlooked, elements of this complementary functionality, is ensuring that your UPS and generators are compatible and synchronised. With so many different options and devices on the market, finding a UPS and generator that align for ongoing performance and reliability in your power systems is so important to ensure consistency and safety in all kinds of market sectors. These are a few things that you should consider when setting up your power systems to make sure you are getting the best performance from both your UPS and generator.
Ensure voltage and frequency are compatible – All UPSs run on a certain voltage range and have a set range at which they function properly. It can be different for all kinds of UPS devices, but they will all have some form of cut-off point. Generators are generally much more flexible in their voltage and frequency, and have a wider range than most UPSs. This means that if the voltage and/or frequency of the generator is outside the limits of the UPS, the UPS power supply will reject this as a power source, and be unable to bypass power production to the generator. Instead, it will switch back to its own batteries, having interpreted the generator as an unstable power source, massively decreasing the stability of your infrastructure overall.
Ensuring your generator is compatible with your UPS is vital to keeping a seamless power supply in blackout conditions. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you can take particular care when looking at the topology of your UPS. For example, standby and line-interactive UPSs take power from their batteries to balance frequency variations and protect normal function, which means that if you have a generator with an unstable frequency or an incompatible frequency that the UPS recognises as unstable, your UPS may well be switching between power sources. This will ultimately reduce battery power, require UPS power supply maintenance and can halt power supply completely, with disastrous results. Other types of UPS – such as online double-conversion UPSs – can filter different frequencies as part of regular operations, making battery drain and power drops much less likely and reduces the need for a UPS repair service or any UPS urgent services.
Examine the fuel source of your generator – The majority of generators get their power from either propane, natural gas or diesel. Diesel is the most popular fuel for industrial generators, as it is easy to store, cost-effective, easy to source and supply. It is also less flammable than propane and natural gas, and per gallon, burns longer than the alternatives, meaning that diesel generators can burn for longer than other generator types, which can be vital to ensuring power supply is kept steady. They also don’t usually have spark ignition, which means they need less maintenance than some other generator types, however, they are more expensive upfront when it comes to commercial generator installation.
Propane and natural gas generators are also sometimes slower to respond than diesel models, and need larger tanks to provide the same power for the same length of time. For these reasons, diesel is the most popular type of generator for commercial applications like hospitals, emergency services, data centres and other industries where a consistent power supply is vital for regular operations.
You should also make sure to examine the fuel governor in your generation installation procedure as mechanical governors are slower to react than electrical ones, which may result in momentary power failure.
There are lots of other aspects to consider when looking at UPS and generator compatibility, but these are just a few considerations that can be incredibly important in ensuring you have a seamless and effective power solution. At Dale, our experienced power supply team can help to ensure your power solutions are compatible, functional and safe, as well as offering a variety of high-quality maintenance packages to make sure your generator and UPS power supply system are still working together for years to come.
To find out more about our services and how we can help you create effective long-term solutions for your power infrastructure, get in touch with us today on 0330 999 3000, or drop us an email at email@example.com.